Instagram Video Was the Big Hit of Viacom’s 2016 VMA’s

Instagram Video Was the Big Hit of Viacom’s 2016 VMA’s

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The 2016 VMA’s were hosted on August 28th – and while linear broadcast ratings were down 34% according to Variety, digital video views and engagements saw significant increases – especially on Instagram.  According to data pulled from Tubular Labs, total video engagements increased 58% on Instagram for VMA videos vs. last year!

2016 VMA’s: Huge Engagement on Instagram

Total engagements for videos uploaded to Instagram after the VMA’s had been broadcast increased by a hugely impressive 58%… the YOY engagements for the week before AND the week after is only 25%!

Instagram Video Engagement for 2016 VMA’s Content Year-on-Year – All Data via Tubular Labs

Celebrities Push 2016 VMA’s on Instagram

Always a bellwether for pop-culture and the general zeitgeist, the VMA’s continued to feature celebrity moments as breakout moments on Instagram. In fact, celebrity uploads from the VMA’s garnered a 26% share of voice across all of Instagram with 36 million views across the platform.  The top 5 celebrities of the night, in terms of Instagram engagements, were:

  1. Ariana Grande (2.2M)
  2. Rihanna (1M)
  3. Nicki Minaj (871K)
  4. Members of the US Women’s Gymnastics Team (719K)
  5. Fifth Harmony (494K)

The red carpet coverage, featuring Snapchat star DJ Khaled, was also a big success, earning a combined 1 million views and 113,000 engagements across the event.  DJ Khaled drove 17.5% of red carpet views for the VMA’s, which totaled 5.7 million for the evening.

Female Performers Dominated VMA Perfomances

Rihanna performed 4 times during the night. Combined, these performances earned 22M views, 509K engagements, and 5.8% of all views about the VMA’s. Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj debuted their video for ‘Side to Side’ following their performance during the VMAs. Together their VMAs coverage earned 24M views, and 517K engagements for the duo, leading to 6.3% of all VMAs coverage. 

Beyonce was of course, the brightest star of the night. Not only did she perform a medley of some of her biggest hits of the year, Formation won Video of the Year. Together, all of their performances combined earned 12.2M views and 435K engagements.

However, Beyonce captured the most attention for Daughter Blue Ivy’s red carpet début that she shared with the mothers of controversial police shooting victims (3.2M views + 175K engagements), and for interrupting Chance the Rapper during an interview back stage (11M views + 262K engagements). All together Queen Bey reigned supreme by earning a total of 58M views, 3.3M engagements and 4,103 uploads. By views, 15.2% of all VMAs coverage was focused on her.

Instagram Video: Essential for Tentpole Events

So, while broadcast ratings may have been down to record lows, digital views and engagements continues to increase across this tent-pole event for Viacom.  Given the core audience for the VMA’s which tends to be female 18-34, it’s no surprise that Instagram is capturing a significant shift from broadcast to digital.

Broadcasters who have typically relied on linear ratings to drive value for tentpole programs must quickly shift to digital channels as audience video consumption habits continue to increase on platforms like Instagram.  In the case of the VMA’s, which combines celebrity fandom with music, digital video distribution on social video channels will be an essential factor towards the future of this historically important event.


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